The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Britton shocks KG officials with sudden resignation
By CATHY DYSON
Matt Britton shocked the King George Board of Supervisors this week with his sudden resignation.
Britton announced in closed session on Tuesday that he will end his job as commonwealth’s attorney on Sept. 3 so he can start a new job, in private industry, the next day.
He told supervisors he’ll work on a part-time basis through Sept. 30 in his role as county attorney.
“Everyone was surprised because it happened so fast,” said Supervisor John LoBuglio. “He said [his new employer] sought him, just out of the blue. It even took him by surprise.”
Supervisor Chairman Cedell Brooks Jr. said he understood that Britton needed to do what was best for his family by taking a job that he presumed included a better salary.
“The way life is, you got to take an opportunity when it comes,” Brooks said.
Britton, 46, was elected King George’s chief prosecutor in November 1999. He became the county’s attorney two years later.
His salary salary as commonwealth’s attorney was $113,760 in 2009, according to a Free Lance–Star report. Britton also makes $100 per hour as county attorney, which can be as much as $55,000 a year, according to King George Finance Director Donita Harper.
Britton was not available for comment, nor was County Administrator Travis Quesenberry. All members of the Board of Supervisors were contacted for comment.
“I was shocked, especially since the election just occurred in November,” said Supervisor Ruby Brabo.
Britton was re-elected the third time in November 2011.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, supervisors amended the agenda to include a closed session to discuss a matter about the county attorney.
Several times during the brief closed-door meeting, voices were raised and could be heard by those in the meeting room.
LoBuglio said Britton didn’t name the company he’ll work for, but said the business has offices in several countries. Britton told supervisors the company sought him for his specific skills, knowledge and experience.
LoBuglio said he believes the company has headquarters in New York, and that Britton will do a lot of traveling, when he’s not working from home.
Britton and his wife have nine children.
“I just wish him the best,” LoBuglio said. “He’s got to put all those kids through college.”
Britton earned bachelor’s degrees in sociology and philosophy from Boston College and a master’s degree in forensic sciences from George Washington University. He earned his law degree from Washington University Law School in St. Louis, where he also worked for a large criminal defense firm.
Registrar Lorrie Gump talked with Britton this week about a special election to pick his successor. Deputy Commonwealth Attorney Keri Gusmann will take over until a new prosecutor is hired.
Gump said it’s too late to get to get the issue on the ballot for November. Next Friday is the filing deadline for that election, which means candidates would have to get their qualifications together by then.
There probably will be a special election for commonwealth’s attorney next November, unless either the courts or Board of Supervisors decide to request one sooner, she said.
Gump also said she was sorry to see Britton leave.
“I’m sure everybody in the county feels that way,” she said. “You get used to working with someone, and in a small location like this, you become like family.”
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425